Ted Beck

1926 – 2017

A Personal Remembrance and Tribute

by Dave Fluharty
(from The Wild Cascades, Winter 2018)

Theodore (Ted) Richard Beck died on May 28, 2017 at the age of 91. Born in Seattle, he earned BS, MS and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, where he made life-long friends with whom he explored the mountains and trails of the Northwest. He was a 50-year member of the Seattle Mountaineers and a board member of the North Cascades Conservation Council who was a stalwart during N3C’s campaigns for the North Cascades National Park and against the High Ross Dam.

With the passing of Ted Beck last May, N3C lost another of the giants who led us through some tough fights.

In Ted’s case I associate him most with the High Ross campaign, where his analytical and engineering skills contributed to winning the war after losing the battle that went all the way to the US Supreme Court (I am not making this up—see more detail in Harvey Manning’s Wilderness Alps).

Ted was one of the original foursome, threesome, fivesome gangs of N3C Board Members (including Patrick Goldsworthy, Dick Brooks, Harvey Manning and others) who did annual treks into the heart of the North Cascades to marvel at their jumbled beauty and to plot how to protect the area.

High Ross Dam was a tangible threat to the upper Skagit Valley with the proposal to raise the dam by 125 feet, flooding a lot of Canadian territory. Ted and others conspired to demonstrate to the Seattle City Council that there was a cheaper, less environmentally damaging and much more Canada-friendly option than raising High Ross Dam.

The solution consisted of long-term, 100-year contracts to purchase an equivalent amount of power from BC Hydro. Seattle City Council eventually was convinced by N3C and others that power purchase was the way to go and it withdrew support from Seattle City Light Plans.

Ted left the N3C Board to attend to family and business concerns but stayed a member. I ran into him often. I remember him fondly as tall, handsome gentleman with a distinctive shock of white hair. He was always eager to hear about N3C’s current efforts to protect the North Cascades and encouraging us to do more. Thank you Ted!